Castello di Volpaia
Castello di Volpaia is located in a medieval village on a hilltop just north of the town Radda in the heart of Chianti Classico, the famous wine region in Tuscany.
Since the mid-1970s, Giovannella Mascheroni Stianti and her family have committed themselves to producing world-class wines, without altering the external structure of the 11th-century village. The small hamlet looks medieval from the outside, but inside the buildings house the different parts of the winery and olive oil making facilities. Deeper down at the bottom of the valley, Giovannella decided to turn an old farm building into an artisan vinegar producing facility. Because vinegar-making can be quite damaging to any wine-making activites, the farmhouse is completely isolated.
To make fine vinegar, you must begin with fine wine. After a great deal of research, Castello di Volpaia decided to use a traditional artisanal method to make vinegar, the “truciolo lento” method. This process is as carefully controlled as wine making and has the great advantage of preserving the original aroma and flavor of the wine. For every batch of wine used, a specific type of bacteria must be chosen to avoid spoiling the perfume. This wine gradually percolates through fresh wood-shavings (“trucioli”) from well-seasoned oak and chestnut where the vinegar bacteria thrive. The amount of air the bacteria come into contact with and the temperature determine the speed at which the wine is turned into vinegar. The longer this process takes, the better the vinegar will be, which is why Castello di Volpaia lets in very little air and keeps the temperature below 27° C. It takes 20 and 25 days to transform the wine into vinegar, thus protecting the original aromas as well as those of the fermentation. Volpaia's Wine Vinegars, like fine wine, are then aged for up to a year in large chestnut barrels and smaller oak barrels which infuse the bouquet with an extraordinary elegance.